Mexico revives the myth of Langara, the best Spanish scorer in history


By CAPosts 02 December, 2020 - 12:01pm 116 views

Isidro Lángara.Real Oviedo

There are many milestones in the history of football that, due to time and the evolution of the sport, are forgotten by most fans. Recently, a record that had stood for 74 years has fallen. André-Pierre Gignac, French striker for Tigres, has surpassed Isidro Lángara as the top European scorer in the history of the Mexican league. The Spaniard, who played in the 1930s and 1940s, scored 124 goals in the Aztec competition and is considered the best Spanish scorer of all time by the International Federation of Football History and Statistics (IFFHS). Despite holding numerous records still in force, his figure remained in the background after the appearance of the Di Stéfano, Puskas or Kubala.

In the Polanco neighborhood, in the Mexican capital, a group of fans keep the memory of the forward alive Spanish. José Antonio Palacio heads the Azul México Isidro Lángara peña, which supports Oviedo from the other side of the Atlantic. “In a certain part, the Gignac thing has been good news because Lángara has been on people's lips again. History has not been fair to him ”, highlights Palacios.

Born in the Gipuzkoan town of Pasajes in 1912, and died in Andoain (Guipúzcoa) in 1992, Lángara was a period scorer who triumphed in the Asturian club, but who was pushed out of Spain by the Civil War. His arrival in the Aztec country was an arduous road, always trying to keep the ball away from the conflict. After the Franco coup (1936) and the stoppage of the league competition, the Basque government decided to organize a team to play a series of international matches in search of funds. It was made up of some of the best players of the moment, such as Emilín, Regueiro or Zubieta. Lángara, who was never particularly sympathetic to either side, was accused of being a traitor by both and imprisoned on occasion. He decided to join the Euzkadi to escape the fight and continue doing the only thing he knew: scoring goals everywhere

Receiving a star

After a European tour that took them from Paris to the Soviet Union, the Euzkadi expedition crossed the Atlantic to leave behind a Europe on which the shadow of the World War fell. Before passing through New York, the team finally landed in Mexico, where they were expected as one of the best teams in the world and Lángara, as a star, despite the fact that very few had been able to see the forward play. The newspaper La Afición pointed out in its pages: “As soon as Isidro Lángara set foot on the ground, the gap closed and the enthusiasm of the fans swirled, he lifted him to the top. All this accompanied by shouts of enthusiasm: Lángara! Up Lángara! Long live Lángara! ”

Palacios never saw the forward play, but he keeps a great memory of what his grandfather told him. “My family is descended from Spanish immigrants. My grandfather was from Oviedo and he always told me that Lángara was the best he had ever seen, ”recalls Palacios, who points out that he was a very beloved character among the immigrant population in Mexico for his humility and closeness.

El Euzkadi got the Mexican Federation gave him a place in the league, despite the difficulties they put from the Spanish government, which did not recognize the team. In the 1938/39 season, with Franco on the verge of victory, they finished in second position and Lángara scored 19 goals. Then, with an increasingly unstable political climate, he put an end to his Mexican adventure to go to Argentina to play in San Lorenzo, where his compatriot Zubieta was waiting for him.

The farewell was harsh and Lángara always kept a great memory of Mexico . "Isidro Lángara wept like a child, bitterly and disconsolately, when he was getting ready to get on the plane to Buenos Aires", collects the chronicle of La Afición. The forward became a legend of the Cyclone. In his debut, he scored four goals against River Plate and was the tournament's top scorer in 1940. In total, he scored 110 goals in his four years in Argentina before returning to Mexico in 1943.

In his second stage in the Aztec country, Lángara joined the Real Club España, a team founded in 1912 by Spanish emigrants, close to the Franco regime. He won a League and a Cup, as well as being the top gunner on two occasions. He was the first player to achieve the title of top scorer in three different countries (three times in Spain, once in Argentina and twice in Mexico).

Rising as an idol, he decided to end his self-imposed exile and returned to Spain in 1946 to rejoin to Oviedo and play his last two years before hanging up his boots. The street where the Carlos Tartiere stadium is located, where the Asturian club plays its matches, bears the name of Lángara. However, the club that Palacios presides over is the only one in the world that honors the forward. "When I met the president, Jorge Menéndez Vallina, he congratulated me for giving him that name, since he is the best player in the history of the club and he does not have the recognition he deserves," he points out.

Currently, records are continuously falling and cracks The past, especially the first half of the 20th century, end up in the background before the evolution of the game. But, despite the fact that one of his records has been surpassed, the forward capable of matching all the figures of Lángara has not yet been born, a man who found in the goal the way to escape the war.

The records of Lángara

The Basque striker still maintains the best scoring average in LaLiga: 1.15. 104 goals in 90 games in two stages with Oviedo, before and after the Civil War. Cristiano achieved an average of 1.05 at Real Madrid, and Messi maintains an average of 0.71 with Barcelona. Neither has been able to emulate the three consecutive games scoring a hat-trick that the Basque achieved.

Figure of the 1934 World Cup in Mussolini's Italy, he participated in the only victory of the Spanish team over Germany in Germanic lands. It was the following year, with Hitler in power and 80,000 fans waiting for them in Cologne with their arms raised. No images are preserved of that day, in which Lángara scored the two winning goals. His 17 goals in just 12 games (1.42) keep him as the most prolific international so far.

Source: Elpais

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